WEDNESDAY NEWS HIT - The state health department recommends them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends them. Even Beaumont doctors and county health leaders say they should be worn.
But come the fall school year, it will be up to education districts to decide whether or not to mandate face masks for students, staff, and faculty while in the classroom.
The Michigan Board of Educators opted for a hands-off approach Tuesday, voting to allow districts to decide whether to make masks required for entering the building.
Not everyone was pleased with the decision. Members of the public threatened to take their students out of the district their children were enrolled in if a mask order was implemented. But, in the end, the board said it would support the districts' decisions - including mandates.
While local control is the overarching take on mask rules, health officials are largely in agreement on their use. "It's just not safe," Beaumont Dr. Matthew Sims said of not having children - especially those too young to be eligible to get a vaccine - to wear a mask.
"Pediatric patients actually are asymptomatic carriers - they can spread the virus to others in the community," said Dr. Sandy Patel. "The more virus that's present in the community, the more chances of a mutant virus to evolve as we are seeing with the Delta."
Some states are seeing a notable uptick in child hospitalizations linked to COVID-19. In southern states where the virus is flaring, hospitals are reporting dozens of children in the ICU with extreme symptoms.
That's not the case in Michigan. Right now, doctors say pediatric hospitalizations remain low. But Michigan COVID-19 cases are on the rise and infection rates are starting to worry health experts.
"We've been seeing a steady rise in the number of admitted patients back at the beginning of July," Sims said. "We were down to some 30 patients across the entire system - now we're up to about 150 patients across the system."
That's why masks have become the premier way to slow the spread, and in the wake of a troubling decline in new vaccination rates, might be the best way to curb the spread.
"Nobody was happy during 2020," Dr. Russell Faust, medical director of the Oakland County Health Division said. "But on the flip side was we didn't see any flu in 2020 in Oakland County, probably nationally, in places where masks were mandated. We didn't have the common cold running through families like mine, for example."
But whether schools decide to implement them is another question - and a decision only they can make. Detroit and Ann Arbor will. But Utica and Grosse Pointe will not.
The only place that masks are required are on buses - and that's because of a federal mandate from the transportation department.
Meet the woman behind Detroit's ‘Sharpest Eatery’
Doris Sharpe-Fraiser set up shop in front of her yard in 2017 and she's been rolling ever since. The Sharpest Eatery, "the home of the $5-meal," is the premier local food stop in Detroit. It's easy to pick out by the hot pink food stand that's propped up on her yard.
"Right now we have rice, we have chicken and we have fish," said Sharpe-Frasier, who specializes in southern cuisine since that's where her roots are. "I stayed in South Carolina for over 20 years and that's where most of my cooking experience comes from," she said.
First inspired by her mom's mac and cheese, she and her husband made it happen four years ago by bringing a cooking career to the neighborhoods. "It's hard for people out here and I feel if people can get a decent meal for a decent price, they should come here," she said.
The 73-year-old works six days a week and has full-time catering too. You'll find her cooking and frying at 11365 Steel Street, Detroit.
Michigan confirms its first West Nile virus case
Michigan's first case of West Nile virus this year was confirmed last month in a horse from Midland County. A 28-year-old Quarter Horse mare became ill with a sudden onset of neurologic disease July 15. The horse was euthanized.
"With the discovery of WNV in a Michigan horse, this signals that the virus is circulating again in the state," said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland. "Its presence underscores the need to take all the necessary steps to protect animals from this disease."
The virus has also been detected in five wild birds in four Michigan counties – Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, and Ingham – so far this year.
In 2020, there were no cases of the virus in domestic animals, and there was one case of the disease in a Lapeer County horse in 2019.
Charles Pugh granted parole
Ex-Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh has been granted early parole for Dec. 22, 2021. The 50-year-old has been imprisoned at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. He was sentenced to five and a half to 15 years in 2016 after being convicted of sexual assault after pleading guilty.
The former district representative was facing a maximum sentence that ended June 22, 2031. His new parole date would be the earliest he could leave. If he is paroled, he'll have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life as well as spend six months with a GPS tether. He cannot come in contact with a minor child without permission.
During his sentencing, he admitted he let people down and apologized for taking advantage of and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy.
In 2013, allegations surfaced Pugh wasn't a mentor to one of the boys in his program for teens - he was accused of being a predator. He denied those allegations at the time but later admitted to sexual assault in court. After the accusations, he fled to New York in the middle of the night. He was prosecuted criminally but was ordered to pay $250,000 to the victim in a civil trial.
2 teens shot, 1 killed at gas station shooting
A 19-year-old has died and a teenage girl was injured in a double shooting at a gas station on Grand River Tuesday afternoon. The murder in broad daylight is the latest example of violence in the city after a shootout at a motel earlier this week.
Police say the 19-year-old was pumping gas when two to three cars approached him. One person got out of one of the vehicles, had words with the person pumping gas, who then tried to get back into the vehicle. "…a gentleman from one of those vehicles fired several shots hitting the male," said Cmdr. Darrell Patterson, Detroit police.
Detroit police say the gunman then left the scene and headed east on Grand River in a black Grand Cherokee. The investigation into the murder at the Marathon gas station is ongoing and police have released an image of the scene, hoping for help from the public.
"What we need to do is we need to stop trying to settle all of our differences with gunplay," Patterson said. "It’s only going to hurt families. it’s going to hurt your family, if you’re the one using a gun. It’s going to hurt the victim’s family if you’re the one being shot, so we need to stop all this gunplay."
What else we're watching
- The Perseid Meteor Shower will be better than usual this year. The meteors will be visible for the next three nights between midnight and sunrise. Here are the best ways to watch.
- Betsy Devos, the former Education secretary from the Trump administration, will not run for Michigan governor in 2022. She made the announcement Tuesday saying she never weighed a campaign to challenge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, despite weeks of chatter.
- Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib drew criticism from some after images of her at a party not wearing a mask surfaced on social media.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote in a filing to the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission that people fired from their jobs for using pot outside of work should still be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of Stahelin and Trojan for the grand unveiling of Detroit's largest neighborhood park - O'Hair Park.
Live on FOX 2
It's going to be a hot one Wednesday as temperatures will near 100 degrees as a heat advisory goes into effect for much of Southeast Michigan. That means drink lots of water and avoid the sun if you start to feel dehydrated.
California's largest wildfire in history has been burning for nearly a month
A fire station was burned down by the Dixie Fire while the volunteer firefighters were trying to save homes in the Greenville area in California's Sierra Nevada.
"We were out so busy taking care of other people’s houses and structures that we didn’t have time to get Engine 26 out," President Will Meyers told KTXL. "You are your own first responder. So, we try to help best we can, but we just do not have the resources, the funding."
Volunteer firefighters will now respond to emergencies from their own homes instead of from the Indian Valley Fire-Rescue Department.